A plodding high school all-star football game turned very dramatic in the final 3:30 Friday night.
The East All-Stars seemed primed to clinch a victory when they faced second-and-goal on the West 2, late in the fourth quarter, leading 13-9. Martin Stafford, of Jonesboro, who rushed for 78 yards on 16 carries, was stopped for a yard, then no gain. Facing fourth and goal from the 1, East quarterback Caelon Harden, of Little Rock Parkview, had problems with a shotgun snap, was jarred loose of the ball by Clay Patrick, of Springdale, who recovered the fumble and advanced it to the 12.
The West, which had gained 153 yards total to that point, faced a full field. West quarterback Lucas Reed, using dink-and-dunk passes mixed with a couple of runs, promptly drove his team 89 yards in 12 plays and 2:58 for the winning touchdown. The biggest plays were a 28-yard pass to Malachi McGee, of Mena, and a 21-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Love, of Hope, who made an over-the-shoulder catch on a flag pattern for the score with 27 seconds left.
That gave the West a 16-13 lead at First Security Field at Estes Stadium in the climactic event during the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Week.
But it wasn’t settled.
East quarterback Sterling Stowers, of Highland, completed sideline passes of 20 and 19 yards Akee Johnson, of Little Rock McClellan. With one second remaining, Lane Campbell, of Jonesboro Westside, attempted a 52-yard field goal that was very low, very short and very wide left, bringing an end to one of the lowest-scoring games in recent all-star football history.
HONORS: Stafford was named Most Valuable Player. The West’s Stockton Mallett of Yellville Summit was the outstanding offensive lineman. The West’s Jamie Smith, of Camden Fairview, was the outstanding offensive back. Patrick was the outstanding defensive lineman. McKenzie Jones of Riverview, playing for the East, was the outstanding defensive back. The East’s Shaquille Hunter, of Junction City, was the top special teams player.
FAULKNER STATS: Greenbrier quarterback Seth Peters, playing for the West, completed 7 of 10 passes for 67 yards and one interception. The longest was 40 yards. Austin Fischer, of Greenbrier, caught three passes for 59 yards and had the 40-yard reception. Tanner Stevenson of Conway Christian, playing at wide receiver for the West, caught 1 pass for seven yards. Michael Atkinson of Vilonia, playing defensive back for the West, had four tackles, three solo. Daniel Geiber of Mayflower played wide receiver for the East but did not catch a pass.
SCORING SUMMARY: East: Will Duncan (LR Christian) 27-yard pass from Sterling Stowers, kick failed. 55 yards, 7 plays, 4:53 1st.
West: Nick DeLeon, (Prairie Grove) 40-yard field goal, 56 yards, 9 plays, :25 1st.
West: Malachi McGee (Mena) 24 pass from Lucas Reed, kick failed, 24 yards, 2 plays, :12 2nd
East: Rashaad Earls (LR Parkview) 2 run, Campbell kick, 77 yards, 10 plays, 2:07 3rd
West: Vincent Love (Hope) 21 pass from Reed, DeLeon kick, 89 yards, 12 plays, :27 4th.